Inflammation in the body breaks it down over time. Inflammation results from and, in part, causes autoimmune disorders and atherosclerosis with subsequent coronary artery disease and stroke. There are many ways to measure levels of inflammation in the body, but none are sensitive or specific for any particular condition. Likewise, inflammatory markers don’t always point to a specific treatment, but rather the presence of a system that is in trouble and needs thorough evaluation.
- Inflammatory risk can be determined, in part, by elevations in C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen, which are both made in the liver as a result of the influence of cytokines such as interleukin-Ib, Interleukin-6 (IL-6), and Tumor necrosis Factor- alpha (TNF). Fibrinogen increases can increase your risk of platelet aggregation (clots) which increase stroke and heart attack risk.
- There is evidence that DHEA and fish oil can decrease cytokine levels and decrease inflammation. Vitamin K can suppress IL-6 especially and thus decrease inflammatory markers. Nettle leaf extract has been found to suppress TNF-alpha and IL-1b cytokines. Aspirin, green tea, ginko bilboa, garlic, and Vitamin E have been found to decrease platelet aggregation and help blood flow, helping to avoid strokes and heart attacks. Lower fibrinogen levels may decrease the risk of myocardial infarction. Increased vitamin A levels decrease fibrinogen levels. Olive oil and fish have had a similar effect. Niacin (1000 mg a day) and vitamin C (2000 mg a day) will decrease fibrinogen. Bromelain (2000 mg/day) and EPA/DHA from fish oil also have a beneficial impact as well.
- Elevated homocysteine levels also represent a cardiovascular threat. Elevated homocysteine prevents fibrinogen breakdown by inhibiting tissue plasminogen activator. Ways to diminish homocysteine levels and it’s risk include vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and trimethylglycine (TMG).
- So elevations of homocysteine will increase your heart attack and stroke risk. Trimethylglycing (TMG) methylates homocysteine and converts it to methionine and s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). In this process, the body needs folate and vitamin B-12. Homocysteine can also be removed from the body by the transsulfuration pathway using a vitamin B-6 dependent cystathione synthase enzyme. Vitamin B6 is necessary for this, and in some individuals, they lack the ability to produce the active form of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate), in which case, pyridoxal-5-phosphate can be supplemented instead to lower homocysteine.
- So vitamins and supplements that decrease homocysteine to help preserve cardiovascular health include: TMG (500 mg a day), folate (800 mcg a day), vitamin B12 (200 mcg a day), inositol (250 mg a day), zinc (30 mg a day), and vitamin B6 (100 mg a day).
- C-reactive protein: an inflammatory risk marker that increases under the influence of cytokines IL-6, IL-1B, and TNF-alpha. When elevated, heart attack risk increases by over two-fold .Studies have found that the statin rosuvastatin (Crestor) can decrease CRP levels and the inflammatory risk of heart attacks. Also helpful are aspirin, vitamin E, nettle leaf extract, DHEA, and fish oil.
So here is a basic list of inflammatory markers and cardiovascular risk markers that should be followed:
- Cholesterol (HDL and LDL and triglycerides)
- Obesity is a risk marker for heart attacks and cancer. Why is this? Increased circulating insulin and insulin resistance causes increased fat conversion of glucose and increased fat deposition. The increased insulin causes certain cancer types to grow as well as it serves as a growth factor.
- The keys to successful strategies for health besides weight loss, include:
- Blood pressure control
- Glucose control
- Decreased LDL cholesterol
- Increasing your healthy HDL cholesterol
- Decreasing inflammatory markers such as fibrinogen, CRP, homocysteine, and cytokines.
Exercise is important. Be certain to consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen. Use and exercise every muscle, every day. Exercise increases blood flow and lymph drainage increases. It also builds strength and flexibility, as well as balance and decreased falling risk. You feel less depressed and have more energy.
- Coenzyme Q10: (Ubiquinone) is beneficial for heart and brain functioning, as well as being a blood pressure lowering supplement. Cells need it for energy production in the mitochondria and deficiency is found in aging and a variety of degenerative disorders. Muscles and the brain have high numbers of mitochondria which need this supplement. Taken orally, CoQ10 is absorbed and incorporated into the mitochondria. As one ages, the body produces only half of what it should of this vital supplement. Dosing is 30-300 mg a day. Of note, statins (anti-cholesterol agent) destroy co Q 10, so it is very helpful to take co Q10 supplements while on any statin. There are studies demonstrating increased energy production in the brain and muscles with Co Q10 supplementation, and it has been noted that there is an antioxidant protective ability as well provided by coQ10. In fact, there is speculation that Parkinson’s disease may result, in part, by reductions of co Q 10 levels in the brain (35% less than normal controls) and that with supplementation, some patients with Parkinson’s disease have had diminished progression of the disorder. As we age, Parkinson’s disease becomes more common, and it may be due to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxygen free radical production due to co-Q10 deficiency which results in the loss of neurons, thereby producing Parkinson’s disease. There is suggestion that dosages of coQ10 up to 1200 mg a day (which has minimal side-effects) seems to diminish the progression of Parkinson’s disease in some patients. This may be a result of the preservation of mitochondrial function.
…more to be added soon!